(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) The recent winter storm may be old news, but after several incidents in recent days drivers still need to be alert for chunks of ice flying off vehicles in front of them.
Arlington resident Meg Miller Rydzewski sent a photo of her husband’s car, which was struck by a chunk of ice that broke off a truck in front of him while driving northbound on I-95.
The ice hit the windshield and caused major damage, but Rydzewski said it could have been much worse.
“It’s estimated that if the force of impact had been 10 to 15 percent more, it would have gone through the windshield and might have killed him,” she wrote. “[It was] sudden and very scary.”
“He did get safely to the side of the highway but couldn’t see where he was going due to the shattered glass,” Rydzewski added. “Thankfully he was not hurt.”
AAA reported that flying ice caused injuries to three vehicle occupants along I-95 and the Beltway in Maryland on Wednesday. Maryland State Police said the victims “suffered eye injuries from spraying glass from windshields broken by ice from other vehicles.”
John Townsend, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs, said drivers are responsible for clearing snow and ice from their cars before they leave home.
“Snow and ice flying off moving vehicles will cause other drivers to swerve to avoid it, and they can run off the road or swerve into another lane of traffic where other motorists are traveling, causing a deadly domino effect,” he said. “So before leaving your driveway or your curbside parking spot, and before you go, clear every inch of snow and ice accumulated on the exposed surfaces from your vehicle.”
There is no law in Virginia, Maryland or D.C. to punish motorists that do not remove snow from their vehicles before driving, according to AAA.
“A law is needed in Maryland, Virginia and the District to help protect drivers from sheets of snow and ice flying off from vehicles while they are driving down the road,” Townsend said. “After this epic snowstorm, it can be a matter of life or death if drivers fail to remove the snow and ice.”
AAA has a number of tips for people clearing snow from their cars. Drivers should never use hot water to melt ice on their cars, for instance; the organization recommends using de-icer spray for windows and mirrors in combination with a snow brush for the rest of the car. With the snow brush, drivers should work from the top of the vehicle on down, pulling snow towards you.
“It requires less effort and helps you avoid having to clear the same areas twice,” AAA says. “If the vehicle is an SUV or taller — grab a step stool to help access the roof.”
“Just as the removal of snow from sidewalks along your home and business is a responsibility of all citizens, removing snow and ice from vehicles should be the responsibility of every driver before it becomes dislodged while driving down the highways,” Townsend said. “It is the duty and debt we owe one another.”
Photo courtesy Meg Miller Rydzewski
The website SmartAsset ranked localities by factors like hours spent in traffic per year, rate of motor vehicle theft, number of parking garages per driver and “the non-driving options a resident has for getting around.”
At the top of the list — the alleged worst city to own a car — was Newark, New Jersey, followed by San Francisco and D.C.
Here’s the explanation for why Arlington was No. 5:
As previously mentioned, the Washington, D.C. metro area has the worst traffic in the country. Unfortunately for the residents of Arlington, they are a part of that metro area. They face the same brutal 82 hours per year spent in traffic, on average. It costs Arlington residents $1,834 per year, on average, waiting in that traffic. For residents of Arlington, a car is more of a necessity than it is for people living in D.C., which is why it ranks lower in our study.
Graphic via SmartAsset
The Lee-Lex Service Center, a well-reviewed, long-time automotive business at the corner of Lee Highway and N. Lexington Street, has closed.
Lee-Lex’s website, which has remained largely unchanged for the past 12 years, says that the service center has “been a good neighbor in our Arlington community since 1978 and consistently receive[d] excellent ratings by consumer magazines.”
The service center was open for part of last week but closed just before Thanksgiving. This morning the shop’s technicians were clearing out their belongings and preparing to move to nearby service centers; signs were being posted on the windows, to let customers know who moved where.
Sources tell ARLnow.com that the property is being purchased by Southland Corporation, the parent company of 7-Eleven. It could not be immediately confirmed that a 7-Eleven store would be replacing the service center.
Photo (top) via Google Maps
According to Arlington County Police, the break-ins happened early Sunday morning. A bunch of car windows were broken, but little of value was stolen, police say.
From an ACPD crime report:
DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY(Series), 161106015, 1200 block of S. Scott Street. Between 2:00 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. on November 6, unknown suspect(s) entered 20 vehicles, mostly by breaking the vehicle’s windows, and rummaged through items but nothing appeared to be stolen. There is no suspect(s) description.
The break-ins were reported earlier today (Tuesday).
“Approximately 25 vehicles were entered and items of value stolen,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage told ARLnow.com. “Officers remain on scene investigating and are canvassing the area to determine if there are any additional victims.”
“This series includes unlocked vehicles so we are reminding citizens to remove the opportunity for crime by locking their vehicle doors, keeping windows up and valuables out of sight,” Savage added. “Please report suspicious activity to the Emergency Communication Center at 703-558-2222.”
The incident happened early Sunday morning, according to Arlington County Police, at a residence on the 4500 block of N. Carlin Springs Road, near Ballston.
“At approximately 3:52 a.m. on October 2, officers responded to the report of a disorderly subject,” said an ACPD crime report. “Upon arrival it was determined that a female subject entered a residence and damaged a door and door [jamb]. The subject then moved outside to a vehicle and smashed the windshields and slashed the tires.”
The motive for the crime was dancing-related, said police spokeswoman Ashley Savage.
“The victim and the subject were at a nightclub earlier in the evening and a verbal altercation ensued over the subject dancing with other individuals,” she told ARLnow.com
Annapolis, Maryland resident Tiffany Mason, 28, was arrested and charged with destruction of property and breaking and entering, according to police. She was held without bond.
A woman in brand new Mercedes-Benz SUV somehow managed to run into several parked cars and flip the SUV just seconds into a test drive.
The incident happened just before 11:30 a.m., at the Mercedes dealership on N. Glebe Road in Ballston.
We’re told that the driver was just beginning a test drive, in the dealership parking lot, and might have mistaken the gas pedal for the brake. She crashed into four vehicles before the SUV rolled onto its side.
Four people who were in the SUV at the time managed to get out before police and firefighters arrived, we’re told. One dealership worker was evaluated by medics for a possible back injury. No one was seriously hurt.
On Saturday morning, police found “numerous vehicles” in the East Falls Church area with tires slashed and body panels “keyed.”
The vandalism was centered around the 2400 block of N. Sycamore Street, near Bishop O’Connell High School.
From an ACPD crime report:
DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY, 160702013, 2400 block of N. Sycamore Street. At approximately 8:30 a.m. on July 2, an officer responded to the listed address for the report of a destruction of property to a vehicle. Numerous vehicles in the area had their tires slashed and were keyed. There is no suspect description.
Also on Saturday morning, police investigated a series of vehicle break-ins in the Penrose and Columbia Heights neighborhoods around Columbia Pike. In total, seven unlocked vehicles were broken into but only two car owners reported that items had stolen.
LARCENY FROM AUTO, 160702012, 1600 block of S. Barton Street. At approximately 8:00 a.m. on July 2, an officer responded to the listed address for the report of items stolen out of an unlocked vehicle. Another officer canvassed the area and discovered two other unlocked vehicles that had been entered but nothing was stolen. There is no suspect description.
TAMPERING WITH AUTO, 160702016, 1800 block of S. 9th Street. At approximately 8:45 a.m.on July 2, an officer responded to the listed address for the report of a tampering with auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that someone had entered an unlocked car and stole items of value. Officers canvassed the area and discovered three other unlocked vehicles that had been rummaged through but nothing was taken. There is no suspect description.
The annual Crystal Car show is returning this weekend to Crystal City.
The fourth annual Father’s Day Car Festival is being hosted by the Crystal City BID in the surface lot located adjacent to 220 20th Street S., on Sunday, June 19 from 2-6 p.m.
“This family-friendly festival will have a large variety of automobile categories including sports cars, electric vehicles, classic muscle cars, antiques and more,” the Crystal City BID said in a press release. “Along with the cars, enjoy live music, food trucks, and a beer and wine garden hosted by the Washington Wine Academy.”
Admission is free for guests and vehicles but cash is required to when purchasing beer and wine.
Those with cars they want to showcase can register online.
File photo. Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
In past years, Arlington has been ranked as having some of the worst drivers in the nation. That doesn’t surprise Brian Meenaghan, who has started a Twitter account to document what he views as a never-ending parade of bad drivers on his block.
Meenaghan, an Arlington Heights resident, started the Twitter account @BadDriversof1stRdS at the end of April. The account focuses on the worst offenders on the 3600 block of 1st Road S., a one-way street located in a high traffic area around S. Glebe Road, Route 50 and the Thomas Jefferson middle school and community center.
“I started this account as a cathartic thing because we’ve had a lot of frustrations on our little block. We’re about 400-450 feet long as a block and we dead end at a middle school,” said Meenaghan. “We have people whipping up this block and people coming the wrong way from the middle school. Because of the oddity of the exit for Route 50 around Glebe Road, we also have a lot of people turning around in driveways and going back up the wrong way, trying to go back to 50.”
Meenaghan’s main concern is drivers going the wrong way on the one-way street (traffic is supposed to only flow from S. Glebe Road to Old Glebe Road). From cars to school buses and even Metrobuses, Meenaghan has caught all types of drivers driving the wrong way or speeding — or both — on the narrow street. Photos and video posted to the Twitter account document the broken traffic laws. (See some of the tweets, below.)
“I work downtown and I’m not here physically during the day all that much and I personally see three or four people turning around every day. I’m probably outside maybe 45 minutes to an hour before dinner with my daughter and I see in just that short amount of time a lot of people going the wrong way,” said Meenaghan.
The Twitter account is a joint venture with his neighbors, who often supply the photos he uploads to the website. Meenaghan said he and his neighbors have been trying for years to convince Arlington County to implement traffic calming measures on the block.
“My neighbors are all very involved in this,” said Meenaghan. “I’m not here that much so I’m not here to take a lot of these pictures. You miss a lot of them because they happen so quickly. Probably six of my neighbors have given me photos over the last couple of weeks. It’s kind of a group-wide effort.”
Part of the impetus for the effort is that the block is now chock full of children.
“We now have 15 kids on this block. There are only 23 houses and there are 15 kids under the age of 10. There have been five kids born in the last six months,” said Meenaghan. (One could perhaps see the block as a microcosm of the challenges with burgeoning enrollment facing Arlington Public Schools.)
Along with the kids living on the block, the presence of Thomas Jefferson Middle School at the end of the block means that there is a constant stream of kids on the block during the school year. It’s only set to become busier, with continued growth at the middle school and the construction of a new elementary school on the middle school’s former parking lot.
In an Italian automotive two-fer, the Maserati dealership on Glebe Road near the I-395 exit is now also offering Fiats.
Both high-end Maserati sports cars and diminutive Fiats are now displayed outside the dealership.
Hat tip to Tom C. Block
A program called RAPIDPASS Virginia has launched, allowing drivers to get the required test for their vehicle during their daily commute.
The on-road testing is being conducted in various parts of Arlington and other Northern Virginia localities.
From a press release:
Motorists simply drive through conveniently located on-road testing equipment positioned throughout Northern Virginia to have their vehicle emissions measured. Owners of well-maintained, clean-running vehicles will receive notification of a passing emissions inspection via mail, or motorists can go online to www.RAPIDPASS.org and enter their license plate number to check if their vehicle has been processed as clean. For vehicles identified as clean, owners can conveniently pay their inspection fee on-line or through the mail and proceed with their vehicle registration renewal. Taking advantage of RAPIDPASS® allows a motorist to skip the trip to a traditional testing station for the biennial emissions test.
Fifteen RAPIDPASS® on-road emissions testing systems are being conveniently distributed across more than 150 roadside mobile inspection locations in the Northern Virginia inspection area counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Stafford, and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park. The locations are positioned on frequently used thoroughfares and will be rotated throughout the month.
Testing locations are being posted on the RAPIDPASS website. Today through Thursday, the testing is being done on Lee Highway in Rosslyn.
The intersection of Washington Blvd and N. George Mason Drive was temporarily closed due to a two car accident this afternoon.
Police were on scene helping to direct traffic after shutting down the intersection at approximately 1:30 p.m. It reopened around 2:20 p.m.
There were no major injuries, according to an officer at the scene, and one of the drivers was seen walking around the scene. The other was reportedly taken to the hospital.
The northbound lanes of S. Carlin Springs Road were shut down this morning after a series of car crashes.
Carlin Springs was shut down around 11:15 a.m. from Columbia Pike to 8th Street S.
There were two different car crashes within feet of each other, said a police officer at the scene. The officer could not say how either of the crashes occurred.
In the first accident, a black SUV ran into a parked car on the shoulder of S. Carlin Springs Road. The second, just steps from the first, reportedly involved multiple vehicles.
There were no injuries, we’re told.
Police say 11 vehicles were found with smashed rear passenger windows Thursday morning. The car interiors had been ransacked, with some items stolen — mostly coins and cash but also small items from a Bic lighter to an iPod, according to police reports.
The break-ins happened in parking lots and streets around Pentagon City, including the 1100 block of Army Navy Drive, 1500 block of S. Fern Street, and the 1200 and 1900 blocks of S. Eads Street.
So far, no arrests have been made.